OneForAll have been producing universal remotes for some time and are one of the most recognised brands in the business. They think they can help you green up your TV setup with their Energy Saver remote. But how does it work? We get watching to find out.
The Energy Saver remote has two basic aspects, the universal remote and a remote controlled plug, which we will deal with in turn.
Out of the box, the remote supports up to four devices, defined as TV, STB (set-top box), DVD and AUDIO. The first stage in setting-up the remote is to program in a code to allow it to take over the function of your devices.
In the box you get an extensive catalogue of code numbers, and it is simply a case of locating your model of TV, for example, then trying the given codes. After a few tries we found the code and were pleased to see that we had taken over control of the TV, then the STB, and finally the DVD player, except in our test set-up we were using a budget DVD player from a supermarket that did not appear to be supported. If the code is not provided, or they don’t work, you can manually search through all the codes till you find one that works. If you are using a mainstream product, from one of the big companies, you should have no problem.
So, having discarded two remotes, we settled down to some TV watching, enjoying the full range of functions that we always had. Ok, that’s not quite true. It is becoming increasingly common for remote controls to feature additional shortcut buttons which may not appear on the AllForOne. Yes, you get your numbers, channel change, volume, standby, text, AV, guide/EPG and menu buttons, but if you have become accustomed to changing the screen aspect, or upscaling levels on your DVD player, you won’t have those features by default, but they can be programmed in manually.
There is also a clever macro mode, so you can set-up shortcuts for particular sequences of button presses, perhaps to change your TV and amp to watch a DVD, or similar. You can also upgrade the remote codes via the Internet by entering the system and searching for your device: it is all very simple.
So where does the Energy Saver come in? Well, in the box you also get the remote controlled plug, which you can put into a wall socket before a multi-way extension. Then you simply press the green button on the remote, the plug switches off, and all your devices are off. Effectively, it reduces all your standby devices down to one - the plug.
The box boasts this might save you up to £37 a year, save 90% of used energy in standby modes, meaning you can breathe a green sign of sweet relief. Alternatively, you could walk over to the wall and switch off the socket, thereby saving yourself 100% of used energy in standby modes.
There is a little quirk in that the green button itself doesn’t turn off the plug, but pressing the button turns the channel changer into an on and off selection for the plug. This means that you can then allocate the numbers to additional plugs, so if your AV rig feeds from more than one power source, you can still use the same remote and turn off two sockets for example.
A word of warning though: it is worth checking how your devices work, as some TVs lose their clock, some set-top boxes download upgrades during "off peak" hours and so on. If you regularly use your TV as an alarm clock, then remember that if you turn it off, it won’t come on, and you’ll be late for work (ahem).
An interesting concept, and a universal remote that works very well with no problems. The Energy Saver element is something of a convenience. The reality is, perhaps, that you want a universal remote, rather than a remote controlled socket, but if this reduces the number of devices you have on standby, then so much the better.